What we do

We adopt a ‘bench to bedside’ approach to study the basis of compulsive behavioural disorders. In our basic research, we use zebrafish as a model species try to understand the biology of compulsive disorders. In particular, we want to understand more about the interaction between molecular (genetic/epigenetic) and environmental (e.g., stress) factors that cause compulsive behaviours, and the associated neural circuits, to manifest. Our approach is theoretically guided by the principles of precision medicine, i.e., that understanding the biology of neuropsychiatric conditions will help develop individualised treatments for patients. Our work involves significant amounts of method development, owing to the paucity of validated, reliable measure in zebrafish. We also carry out translational research in humans, in particular looking at the interactions of impulsivity, risk-taking (personality) and (environmental) stress on alcohol use and misuse. In our applied research, we translate our findings in the laboratory to test questions relating to compulsive disorders, such as addiction and relapse (in humans) and stereotypic behaviours in domestic, farm and laboratory animals.

Our research falls into three programmatic streams

1. Basic neural and behavioural biology of impulsive/compulsive disorders.


2. Stereotypic (compulsive, repetitive) behaviour in captive/domestic animals.


3. The effects of drugs (e.g., alcohol) during early brain development on behaviour and cognition.

Brain and Behaviour Lab was established by Dr Matt Parker in 2015, and is based at the University of Portsmouth

Our Philosophy

Our approach is theoretically guided by the principle that understanding the biology of neuropsychiatric conditions will help develop more effective treatments for patients.

We are always interested in hearing from potential PhD or MRes students, and have a variety of projects available.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have a great idea for a project that fits with our interests!